I remember, just before the World Internet Mega Summit in Singapore this year, I asked a couple of closer friends why did they bother to spend another 4 days and all that money to attend the seminar – afterall, they’ve been to the WIS at least once before, and they all know that what they get in the 4 days are Internet gurus trying to sell their stuff. It is like attending 4 days of previews!
The common answer I got was “I’m going there for the contacts”. Frankly, then, while I understood the possibilities that would open up for someone with great contacts, I never understood how people “get their contacts” at the WIS, because the previous time I was there, I did get a lot of namecards, but I didn’t make many friends… and even though someone bothered to compile the email addresses into a mailing list, all I got from the list was a bunch of unsolicited emails, from people who were marketing more “make money online” kind of products. Not even one bothered to call or send a personal mail. Well, neither did I take the effort to do so.
Its been eight months since that big event I went to, and yet, no real contact.
Then, for the past two weeks, I’ve been reading this book by Keith Ferrazzi – Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time and I realised how successful people actually build their network of contacts.
It is so different. Everything is so organized and systematic! For example, Ferrazzi recommended that we “ping” our contacts (get in touch in one way or another) on a regular schdeule, that we use our free time buses, on the airplane etc, to write simple and short emails to just buzz each other just to tell them “Hey, I’m still alive and kicking. Are you?” This takes the relationship beyond just “we exchanged namecards, and I know of his existence”, to a level where you earn the right to call them if necessary.
Its totally inspiring. I’m totally impressed.
As I started reading the book, I also started realise my mess of contacts – namecards lying on my working table not followed up on, and multiple Ms Excel documents with contact information of my classmates dated over a decade ago!
So its time to get back in touch! With a couple of hundreds of names in the list (which, luckily, still isn’t too much), getting in touch is definitely going to take a while, but its better late than never, right?
Hopefully, as I get in touch with them one by one, I’ll also be able to direct them this blog as a platform for our future communications. Well, that’s one wonderful way to use a blog, ain’t it?
Is it also time for you to get back in touch with your old friends and start pinging those people whom you’ve exchanged namecards with? Or do you already use a systematic plan to keep in touch?